Titles and labels are funny things, some can make you feel good and some not so good. So far in my life I am, or have been, a daughter, sister, mother, daughter-in-law, teacher, principal, camper, friend, neighbor, and more. At work the other day, a fellow Lowe's employee came up to me and said, " I heard we have something in common, we are both widows." Instantly, I felt like puking. No one had ever said that to me or called me that up to that point. Prior to that conversation, I had to mark the widow box on some paperwork but that is the only time I ever interacted with that term. There are days when I wake up and think I am living a bad dream, just for a second, then I realize that he really did have cancer, I really am a widow.
(one of my favorite photos, October 2014)
Being a widow sucks! While I work to move on with daily tasks, plans, and home projects, the overwhelming sense of sadness and loneliness is always present. This is my new reality and I have to figure out ways to handle the feelings and continue to be a mom, sister, daughter, etc. There are several things I think about and/or hang on to that keep me going, keep me moving forward when I feel like it may be impossible.
My girls, both with the kindest hearts of anyone I know, keep me moving forward. We have days when the three of us hang out, run errands, share memories, and cry our eyes out. These days help because we know we have one another, we have the memories of each and every day we spent with Todd, "Pa," and know he is proud of all we are currently doing.
Another thing that keeps me going is this...no matter how sad I get, no matter how lonely I am, or hurt I feel, none of these feelings are as great as the loneliness, sadness, and hurt that Todd felt while he was sick. I think about the time that Todd fell in the parking lot at Kroger when it became difficult for him to balance, I think about the countless times we drove to Central Baptist in the dark hours of the morning because he was in too much pain or too sick for us to handle at home, I think about the time he cried so hard while he sat in his wheel chair and told me he was scared. When I think of these times, I realize my loneliness, sadness, and hurt are small in comparison to all he endured during his seven month cancer experience. So, I have my sad moment, wipe my tears, put on my big girl panties, and move on. This realization doesn't make my loneliness and sadness better, it just puts it in perspective.